I was initially admitted to the U.S. as a student in F-1 status to attend School A. My visa was issued based on that school’s I-20 form. …

… Before I came to the U.S., I applied to and was admitted to several universities, including School B. I decided to transfer to School B shortly after I arrived in the U.S., since I already had admission there. I talked to the DSO at School A and told her that I wanted to transfer. She instructed me that, as long as I had admission to School B and their program starts within 30 days of the date I came to the U.S., I was eligible for transfer without enrolling in classes at School A. I processed my transfer and completed my program at School B.

I recently applied for optional practical training (OPT) and the USCIS issued an RFE, asking me to show that I took classes full-time at School A before my transfer to School B. Since I transferred shortly after arrival in the U.S. and never even registered for classes at School A, was my transfer improper?


For a long time, the transfer procedures for newly arrived students, who never enrolled in classes at the school that was noted on their F-1 visas, were well established and commonly used. Such procedures are authorized and described in the SEVP FAQ. However, the USCIS appears to have a different interpretation of the regulation on F-1 transfers, requiring that the student first be enrolled in classes and maintaining a full courseload, before becoming eligible for transfer. It is not very clear what final position the USCIS will take, given these two conflicting interpretations. (01.Apr.2016)

Questions frequently reach us from students on a variety of matters. This is a sample question, answered by an attorney in our firm. More information can be found in the student section of MurthyDotCom.

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